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 Charles Livingston Bull  (1874 - 1932)

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Lived/Active: New Jersey      Known for: wildlife, genre, illustrator, mural

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Ad Code: 3
Charles Livingston Bull
from Auction House Records.
The Chase
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles Livingston Bull(1874- 1932) was the premier wildlife artist of his time in America, perhaps the best of his kind in the world. He drew and painted realistic animals, a subject he explored through literature.

Bull loved animals, but because of his father's harping that art was a waste of time, he also apprenticed in taxidermy, an occupation that greatly contributed to his expertise on animal anatomy. He also took evening drawing classes at the Mechanic's Institute in his home town of Rochester, and there he met Harvey Ellis. With him and several other artists, he formed the Rochester Arts & Crafts Society, one of the first groups in the United States to focus on the Arts and Crafts movement. Eventually he earned the position of chief taxidermist at the National Museum in Washington, D.C. and became an expert on animal anatomy. His stature as a taxidermist grew.

In 1901, Bull made his first trip to New York City to garner stories to illustrate from magazines such as Century, McClure's, Outing, and The Saturday Evening Post. By 1902, he had gained considerable recognition for his illustrations in two books, Jack London's "Call of the Wild" and Charles Robertss "The Kindred of the Wild." In 1911, he published Under the Roof of the Jungle, a book detailing his experiences in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Bulls' top position in the field of wildlife illustration was assured.

Like most illustrators of his time, Bull also did work for advertising campaigns. Perhaps his most famous is his 1920 advertising poster of the "leaping tiger" for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

During World War I, Bull created patriotic posters featuring the bald eagle and, in fact, maintained a life-long interest in saving eagles from extinction. Like many other illustrators, he made money creating images for advertising campaigns. Perhaps his most famous piece is the 1920 "leaping tiger" poster for Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Most of Bulls' artistic career was spent in Oradell, New Jersey, where he settled with his wife in 1910. A description by a neighbor calls him "a quiet, totally abstracted, very pleasant man who never said anything and who lived for his work and his animals." Given such modesty, it is not surprising that Bull ignored attempts by potential biographers.

He exhibited at the National Academy of Design, and was a member of the Salmagundi Club, Society of Mural Painters, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

An anonymous source from Boston, a semi-retired text book editor who, in turn, took some of his material from the website of the Society of Illustrators. Of his initial interest in the artist, this source wrote:

"Years ago (back in the '60s) a high school boy gave me quite a nice, large, detailed original charcoal drawing of a wild horse signed by CLB--I was animal crazy and Bull was always one of my favorite illustrators. Apparently, Bull was related to this boy's family in some way, which I can no longer remember. Bull may have been a distant uncle or at least a friend of an uncle of this boy, and the drawing was a gift to his family. I recently had the picture reframed and this weekend gave it to my son as a birthday present. . . .Bull isn't as well-known to my son's generation (he's 29) as he was to mine.

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Charles Bull is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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